I, unfortunately, lost my birth mother a couple of days before my 16th birthday, 7 days actually. My entire world shifted from that point going forward. I was never the same girl. I could feel it. How my world was never the same. Until I fell pregnant, and for the first time in a very long time, I had a bond with my mother that I hadn’t experienced in a very long time. I had become a mother, and I was getting to feel the same beauty my mother experienced when she was pregnant with me.
I experienced a sense of love that I had never encountered before. See, I did not grow up next to my mother. She, unfortunately, battled demons that left her too paralyzed to wake up next to her children every day. Only at 27 years of age did I learn of these demons. I now understand a side of my mother that I never knew. For her, the journey of motherhood had more thorns than roses, but she never stopped praying. I remember I would keep writing her letters whilst staying with my aunt. I would see her now and then during school holidays and never understand why we did not stay together. As I was going to high school, God answered her prayers and she found her way back to her two girls.
I recently learned of a diary she kept and in one the pages were the words: I am tired, but I will never stop fighting for my kids until I die. And now I know that she never stopped fighting. As we were getting to know each other, she transitioned from this earth and left my sister and I. (who happened to be 8-months pregnant).
I failed to understand what kind of God gives and then turns around and takes. He took from us before. A few years before my mother’s death, we buried our father. I loved that man so much, but my mother would be my consolation. We had lost a father, but at least we still had a mother. Now, we had neither. The very human beings that brought us into this world had left us to figure this life out, by ourselves. And for years we tried to navigate around our new reality, and I failed. I was a broken little girl that coped with grief by overdosing on pills now and again.
I still call my sister a superhero for giving birth 10 days after her mother’s burial and still being okay. I am yet to have the conversation with her, to ask her how she survived such a traumatic time. She did, and after the birth of my daughter, so would I.
This is the thing about life. It allows us to go through the darkest of exeriences to discover our light. It took me losing my mother and becoming one to understand the true value of it.
The birth and death of my good friend’s 10-day old son, Oagile, taught them, and subsequently us, a very important lesson. We are of the assumption that we are raising our kids when actually our kids raise us. His name means ‘he that builds’. And built he did. He built a new realisation. I soon realised my daughter raised me. No longer would I be a resentful young girl broken by loss and grief. No longer would I be a dweller, dwelling on pain and heartache. I would be raised into seeing the beauty of life; the beauty of new life.
For the first time since their passing, I was okay. Okay with the idea that we all have our different journeys to travel and that this was mine. It was beautiful to transition from a place of darkness to a beautiful place of motherhood. In this hood, we dealt with sleepless nights, soiled nappies and the cutest reflex smiles. I became too preoccupied with the miracle of life to dwell on the pain of loss.
It is very true that something in us shifts when we become mothers, and this is not even after childbirth. The minute we find out we are going to be mothers, we change forever. I welcomed that changed with open arms because it introduced me to a better version of myself. And I am so in love with this mama who is still trying to figure things out. I am not perfect, but I am so damn proud of the mom I have become, influenced by the mama that I had, and the mamas that I am surrounded by.
To my mother in heaven, I get it now. I am so proud of the decisions that you made for our sake and the sake of your own sanity and wellbeing.
Karabo Motsiri is a first-time mom, over-sharer, lover of life, chronic napper and married to her best friend. She loves a good party because the dance floor is her happy place. She enjoys good food, good conversations, laughs a little too hard, and cries during every episode of Grey’s Anatomy. She started her blogging journey because she wanted to share all the ups and downs of being a young modern mama in South Africa. Her blog Black Mom Chronicles has been featured on Ayana Magazine & SA Mom Blog. She has enjoyed airtime on Power FM and frequently writes for the parenting section of Saturday Citizen She also works with MamaMagic on their Product Awards, Milestones Magazine, Heart to Heart blog, and the Baby Expo, which is South Africa’s biggest parenting expo.